The Ninth Circuit has ruled that FedEx Ground misclassified truck drivers in California and Oregon as independent contractors. The appeals court said the drivers were employees who could, in turn, pursue class allegations that they were short-changed on benefits and wages. A three-judge appellate panel overturned a lower court’s summary judgment in favor of FedEx Corp.’s FedEx Ground Package System Inc., finding that truck drivers who delivered packages for FedEx in California and Oregon should have been considered employees.
The California case was brought by a proposed class comprising drivers who delivered FedEx packages between 2000 and 2007, while the Oregon case was brought by drivers who delivered packages between 1999 and 2009.
The California and Oregon cases were part of a number of lawsuits filed by FedEx drivers in about 40 states across the U.S., according to the Ninth Circuit. The suits, which were eventually consolidated in multidistrict litigation and certified as class actions, included similar allegations that FedEx improperly classified its drivers as independent contractors, depriving them of benefits that employees would normally receive and forcing them to cover business expenses. The Ninth Circuit appeals were filed after the Indiana federal district court handling the MDL granted summary judgment to FedEx on the question of whether the drivers were employees.
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